If I wasn’t cheap, you’d be looking at a picture of a pig on a leash.
A quick tale of gear regret in the hopes it may help you avoid the same.
For the past two years, I’ve been coveting a pair of trail running shorts. But as is my parsimonious practice when it comes to gear, I tend to wait until a thing has been marked down. Then marked down again. And usually a third time.
There was a pair of trail running shoes with neoprene uppers that Nike came out with about 15 years ago. Initial price: $120. After three years of diligent monitoring, I nabbed them when they dropped below $70 — and were being replaced by something more hi-tech. A North Face vest I’d coveted for four years I finally got for half it’s original price (though by then what I really wanted was a Mountain Hardwear puffy vest, which would come into my possession in another three years, once the new micro vests were popular). Every tent I’ve bought, pretty much every hiking boot and running shoe — if it’s been on the market for at least three years, it’s new to me.
And so silly, because once I do buy a piece of gear, I use the life out of it.
About two years ago, the Patagonia Baggies entered my consciousness. My running buddy Chuck wore a pair; on the surface, they looked like most other trail shorts — with one key exception: they have a rear pocket that comfortably holds an iPhone.
This is important not because I need to be in constant contact with my bffs on Facebook, or because my thumbs must constantly be texting. Rather, one of the ways I make a living is by making people want to get out and explore. And one way to do that is by visually capturing those moments on the trail that either make people, chuckle, gasp or say, “Dang, I wish I were there!”
Moments such as spotting the first copperhead of the season stretched across the trail. Or coming upon a thin layer of fog over Umstead’s Big Lake — with brilliant blue sky above. Or yesterday at Lake Johnson, when I encountered two girls who had strung a hammock across the trail (mid-teens, I assumed, their minds still wrestling with the concept of common sense). Or the two runners who stopped to do dips on a bench (nicely illustrating, for GetGoing purposes, cross-training).
Those misses I could live with. But not a pig-on-a-leash.
On the same run at Lake Johnson I glanced up the trail and thought I was seeing a yappy, micro lap dog, the type becoming increasingly common on the trail. Then I looked again. I reached for my camera phone.
That was it: I’m not missing another leashed pig. That afternoon I drove to Great Outdoor Provision Co. and, full retail be darned, made sure that the next leashed pig I see on the trail, you will see as well.
I took my first Baggie run at Umstead yesterday and happened upon this secluded lake deep in the park, off the Loblolly Trail. Thinking of you, I reached into my rear pocket. It may not be a leashed pig, but I think I know what you’re thinking.
Dang. I wish I were there.
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